No one understands the intricacies of the child welfare system better than those directly impacted by it. Individuals with direct experience of the child welfare system — parents, kinship caregivers, foster caregivers, and alumni of foster care — are well positioned to offer unique insights into what works, based on their personal experiences and expertise. Their perspectives, recommendations, and collaboration are integral to designing a child welfare system that keeps children safely at home whenever possible, and a child and family well-being system that ensures all families have access to equitable supports in the communities where they live.
Those who have been impacted most by the system — youth, families, and resource caregivers — should be involved at all levels of the system as: the experts of what they or their family need at the individual case level; peer mentors who offer support and guidance to others navigating the system; and expert consultants and partners in co-design, leadership, and decision-making that advance system improvement and transformation.
What are the four pillars of authentic engagement with communities and individuals with lived experience through co-design?
Please explore the related resources below and at Questions from the Field to learn more about lived expertise.